By Janett Chavarry Garcia
PERU: It's difficult for a person not to be curious about the lives of others. It could be the life of a favorite entertainer you want to know about or a friendâ€™s personal life and all their problems.
Yet, when curiosity is a job and it transforms lives, uncovers corruption or puts public personalities in jail, then it becomes difficult to understand whether it's a powerful â€œskillâ€ or just plain curiosity.
In my country, three â€œsuccessfulâ€ but disturbing incidents happened in the last few months that showcase the difference between gossip and curiosity for the public good.
Peru's Prime Minister and members of his party deny they had anything to do with public corruption scandal.
The first example, and the most complicated, occurred when a company dedicated to spying on government officials discovered a corrupt web whereby some people benefited with payments of thousands of dollars as part of a deal to obtain a piece of a petrol well.
The situation provoked such an outcry that the public demanded the dismissal last October of all the department directors involved. While the main people responsible for the corruption were captured, the investigation is ongoing with more details revealed everyday illustrating just how big a job it is to take apart this web.
The second â€œgossip bombâ€ is just about the most famous case in Peru of a woman put in jail for talking about another person. Magaly Medina, the most popular entertainment reporter on Peruvian television, was accused of talking about the private life of a soccer player. She was put in jail for three months.
Medinaâ€™s case polarized people â€” some supported her, others were against her. Newspapers, web blogs, opinion polls and TV programs dedicated their content to her imprisonment.
Popular Peruvian entertainment reporter, Magaly Medina, is led away in handcuffs to serve her jail sentence for talking about the personal life of a soccer player.
Medina, who is also the owner of a magazine, published every week a letter from jail. Her writings touched the hearts of people from all different parts of society. Finally, at the end of the year, Medina was freed. It didnâ€™t take long for her to recover her popularity and return to the gossip field. Obviously, her experience didnâ€™t change her mind about anything.
Recently, the â€œgossip businessâ€ claimed a new victim. A couple days ago, after a difficult election, a girl who was supposed to take care of the publicâ€™s money, the comptroller, was accused of lying about her academic references. Today, all the authorities want this girl dismissed from her position.
At this moment, I ask if gossip is really that important to a society when itâ€™s used to change peopleâ€™s lives or to enter a personâ€™s private life with the intention of getting money, fame or prestige?
Nowadays, the intention of society is not always understood very well but what is important, I think, is that ethics, and the value of a person are respected in every circumstance before curiosity overtakes common decency.
Learn more about Janett:
Janett ChÃ¡varry GarcÃa was born in Lima, Peru in 1977. It is where she still lives with her parents and three sisters in the same apartment near the cityâ€™s town square.
Janett has a degree in Communications from Lima University. These days, Janett studies the development of communications and mass media as it pertains to social issues.
As such, she has worked in human resources, television and has participated in public enterprise projects.
When Janett is not writing for Latina Lista, she loves to spend her free time either curled up with a good book of fiction and her dogs or working in a little exercise by playing volleyball or cycling around Lima.